Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Bath time fun!

      Baths are a great fun way to wind down the day. With a newborn especially as a first time mom there was a lot of anxiety and fear of HOW to bathe someone so little, it scared me. Bath times may be hard at first but as both you and baby get used to them they become more relaxed and fun. Also as your child gets older it gets easier to bathe them!

       One of the first questions that a parent should decide is how often to bathe their child. I was told at the hospital it is best not to bathe a baby every day because it dries out a babies skin and isn't good if a baby has eczema and so on. Ultimately the decision is to be made by the parents. The up-side to bathing your child each day is that it develops a routine and children love routine, it is a great way to wind down the day. You may also take your child's cues (some children love bathing, some not so much). Some parents bath every day, some 2 times a week. The decision on how often if one that each family makes to fit their schedule and their wants/needs.

      Another problem that comes up before your baby is even born is where to bathe the baby. There are many different baby tubs that can be bought some are great, some are okay and some are...horrible to say the least. Also some tubs are made for older children, some are aimed for newborns, some bath tubs are made to "grow" with the child. I have used 2 different tubs so far and am soon going to start using a third when my son begins sitting confidently by himself. The first tub was able to be folded. The beauty was that it folded in and took less space. Sweet huh? ...Well no its not. Why? It holds hardly any water, then again a newborn does NOT need much water in their bath, but an older child needs more. They are easy to leak, what a mess! And its not a good tub to bathe a newborn because it doesn't have a sling or anything so especially as a first time mom you will NEED someone to hold baby as you bathe them. Maybe there are better fold away tubs but mine was not. The second tub I LOVE it is the "Three-Stage Newborn to Toddler Baby Bath" from Walmart. It has a sling for the newborn so that you can put them in the sling and just hold one hand over them just in case and bathe them with your second hand. Also then the sling comes off and a bigger child can sit in the tub with MUCH more water then many tubs afford. It says it is newborn to two years but I would not push it that far I say your baby does not NEED a baby tub past probably like 7 or so months but maximum a year. I kind of wish I could have tried a baby "bucket" bath, those look cool and are probably great for just quickly washing up baby after an explosion or something though I would not use it for ever bath because they are intimidating and I like to use a bath for him that feels more like a bath and one in which I could reach different body parts to wash easier. The next tub I got as a prize for my points from Huggies. It is the "Disney Winnie the Pooh Inflatable Safety Bathtub". I cannot say whether I like it because I have not used it and will not until my son can confidently sit on his own. When a child can confidently sit on their own you can use the big bathtub but I thought this was a nice transition because the adult tub is so big. I will place it in the adult tub like I have with the baby tubs from the time he was about 6 weeks old because it is less mess but if you haven't done it before then you can begin the transition to an adult tub by putting babies tub in their for a week or so in the hopes that they get used to being in the adult tub and are not scared or overwhelmed when you do put them in the big tub. You do not want them to get scared and hate bath time.

 This is my baby tub:
       As a first time mom bathing my son was very scary. I say this knowing I had my husband and MIL there during bath times (M would hold Alek, I would bathe and MIL would then carry him all toweled up to the bedroom so we could dry him and clothe him again). Really you don't need so many people at all even bathing alone is okay if you have a tub with a sling for your newborn though it is nice to have another person there to help you put your wet baby in a towel after the bath.

  Bathing a newborn
     Until the umbilical stump falls of you will be doing sponge baths not regular baths. Before the bath make the house temperature warmer. What I would do is put baby clothed on the (uncovered) waterproof diaper changing pad. I would take of babies clothes one at a time depending on what body part I am washing. Newborns do not like being all naked and usually do not like bath time at first so work quickly and keep them warm where you are not washing. You start with the least dirty place to the most dirty place. So you will need a towel, wash cloths, a bucket with warm water (test with your elbow- water should be warm not hot or cold - Hence work quickly!!!), fresh diaper, fresh clothes and cotton balls, lotion, diaper rash cream these items should be ready and baby is brought in when all is ready. Put baby down and start with the face. Use the cotton balls for the eyes dip them in water and work from the outer part in, if you need to do more then once then use the other side of the cotton ball not the same side because it is dirty already. (I usually use a cotton ball to clean behind both ears as well). Then wet a wash cloth and clean the babies face and dry it. next take off babies top and with a wash cloth (without soap) wash the babies arms, stomach, back then under the arm pits. Then dry baby and put another top on. Next take of their pants or bottoms and wash the legs and dry them and dress. Lastly you will clean babies privates. Take off the diaper and wash with a wash cloth (make sure you get all the million crevices! and then dry baby and the babies million crevices and cake on some diaper rash cream. and diaper the baby again. Now if you are washing babies head I do it last even if it is recommended to do it earlier in the process. Use a new washcloth and LIGHTLY wash and dry and I put on a hat so that it dries even better and babies head is warm after bath. Putting on lotion and/or diaper rash cream is a good idea if the weather is dry and even when it isn't to prevent redness or rash in crevices that baby has such as near the wrists, on the neck and so on do this after drying baby and before dressing.
     The umbilical cord stump does not need special care. Using alcohol rub can possibly make it so that it takes longer to dry and fall off. Though if it is bleeding you may need Polisporin. Be careful around the stump and don't clean or touch it too much and make sure it remains dry!!! The stump will fall off usually in 7-14 days.

  Bathing a newborn after umbilical stump falls off
       You need the same items before bath time (towel, cotton calls, wash cloth, fresh diaper, clothing, lotion, diaper rash cream). Bring the baby in when everything is ready and baby can be naked. Do not fill to much water into the tub but then again if you have the sling I think you need more then the 1-2 inches recommended. Although keep in mind when bathing baby you cannot be distracted even for one second, hawk eyes are needed especially when baby begins squirming. At this point baby begins to like bath time more. What I did is I put enough water that his back and bum were wet through the sling and i would pour water on his belly and front every minute or so. You still need to wash quickly even when using this bath, bath time usually lasts about 5-15 minutes no more (closer to about 8-10)! You can now use baby wash or soap. Again you wash from least dirty to most dirty. The face is washed without soap and I don't use soap on the neck either because my son has a lot of creases and I wouldn't be able to wash the soap out! Lather up the washcloths and have fun (Don't overuse the soap because there is no point babies don't exactly get dirty and you don't want them pulling soap in their mouths once they find their arms). Now you can wash the head with soap lightly lather, use very little soap then rinse carefully (if you don't rinse well it can cause more cradle cap).

 ***What we do is for rinsing time is my husband lifts him up and I use a cup and from a bucket of warm water I rinse him with warm clean water since the water in the bath tub has soap residue in it then I get a towel and wrap him up in it. If my husband was not able to help I would probably just pore fresh warm water onto his arms and tummy and then lift him and rinse his head out of a cup while holding him. Hence now I needed a cup and a bucket or bowl with slightly warmer water then in the baby bath (by the time you use it it should be like the water in the tub).
        Also it is great to have a routine or "show" that you do for baby each time after bath. Number one they love routine. Number two it keeps them entertained while you dress them and lets face it they do NOT like getting dressed. I have a toy he loves and a Baby Einstein Saxophone toy that play for him (M does the "concerts") while I dress him. Also you could sing or really anything you would like. When they get older you can give them a toy to play with and keep them occupied (By the way have a toy near your diaper changing area as they get older if they are entertained they sometimes squirm less so changing their diaper is easier!)

Bathing baby
     I personally add much more water then it says to on the baby bath so that his tummy is covered. He loves being in warm water and can stay in the bath much longer this way and loves splashing his arms around in the water. Bath time is sooo fun for him now. At about 4 1/2 months I added in a rubber duck and a Sophie the Giraffe bath toy I know I know it says 6 months but I don't give them to him I use them to keep his belly warm with the water that can be gathered inside of the bath toys and he loves seeing it happen and finds it sooo funny. Sometimes before I start soaping him up I find him the bath toy to play with and he passes it from hand to hand. He also loves trying to grab the wash cloths now too :) Soon we will transition to the inflatable tub where he will sit and I will give him a ship bath toy I bought him. At about 8 months I will probably transition him into the real bath tub.
***** Hmmm bathing a newborn feels like it happened so long ago so I may have forgotten something and well bathing a older child just gradually transitions from bathing newborn it all kind of happens smoothly and you don't even notice just watch your babies development and do what you are comfortable with and make bath time fun and a nice way to WIND DOWN the day.

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